MSM project finance & project management alumnus receives grant for project on harmful cultural practices and disability in Kenya


In April 2018 Rolando Jr. Villamero, Co-Founder of Global Observatory for Inclusion (GLOBI) in Kenya, followed MSM’s executive Project Finance & Project Management program. At that time he didn’t know that he could apply his newly acquired knowledge into practice quickly….and with success. Rolando and his friend Esmael Omar received a grant from the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation to do a project exploring the link between harmful cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and disabilities in Kenya. Read more in the interview.

Rolando, can you tell us a bit more about the mission of GLOBI?
GLOBI serves as a platform for people coming from all over the world who are passionate about inclusion. At this platform people can share their experiences, ideas and perspectives, foster collaboration, build local and global networks and create awareness on social inclusion. Since its inception, GLOBI has been initiating projects geared towards promoting the inclusion of marginalized groups. An example is #DrawDisability, a global campaign aimed at exploring the perspectives of children and young people on disability and inclusion through the use of visual arts.

How did you get in contact with the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation?
My friend Esmael Omar and I were informed that the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation in Montreal (Canada) was looking for project proposals on human rights. The Jeanne Sauvé Foundation spearheads the Collaboration Fund to encourage young professionals to pursue their passion through funding opportunities. Esmael and I didn’t think twice and took the challenge of submitting one through our own personal capacities.

What exactly was your project proposal about? And why did you choose this topic?
The proposal explores the link between harmful cultural practices such as FGM and disability in Kenya. It intends to mobilize girls and women with disabilities in the fight against FGM through capacity building. Aside from the fact that Esmael’s technical expertise is on harmful cultural practices such as FGM and mine is on disability rights, people with disabilities in Kenya are often excluded from learning about their rights in terms of protection from FGM. As a result, they continue to be subjected to multiple layers of marginalization.

How has the knowledge that you acquired through the MSM Project Finance & Project Management program, helped you in setting up this project proposal?
All topics that were covered in the program have been very helpful. In developing the proposal, we were asked to clearly define the problem, map out the stakeholders and determine the results framework. Beside this we were also required to develop the matrix of activities and budget breakdown. While writing the proposal, I could continuously refer to the materials that MSM provided and I kept reflecting on the tips on how to strengthen a project proposal. Thank you so much 

What do you hope to accomplish with this project in the future?
The project aims to contribute to the goal of ‘leaving no one behind’. Hence, through the project, we aim to ensure that people with disabilities, especially those girls and women with disabilities, have the capacities to fight for their right to be protected against harmful cultural practices such as FGM.

What would you like to share with future MSM Project Finance & Project Management students?
While the course is very helpful, you as a student play a critical role in making sure that you put the newly gained knowledge into practice. I have been grateful that right after the course, an opportunity came up for me to apply what I learned.

When will the project come to an end and are you willing to share the outcome with us?
The project runs from August 2018 till August 2019 so we have just started. I am more than willing to share the process and outcome of the project with you. So stay tuned!

Are you interested in following the MSM Project Finance and/or Project Management executive program as well? Check out the next starting dates:

Project Management (5-day)
8 – 12 October 2018
18 – 22 February 2019
7 – 11 October 2019

Project Finance (5-day)
15 – 19 October 2018
11 – 15 February 2019
30 September – 4 October 2019